Interesting that Stephen Paddock was a licensed pilot, and owned at least two private planes, one of which was a 2004 Cirrus SR20 (the first year they made the first small craft with flat panel avionics. These things run like $300K, and are used as trainers for the US Air Force. Paddock obtained his in 2006, but apparently eventually sold it. Finally it wound up at "Valant LLC" in Roanoke, Virginia. The last time it apparently flew was April 25, 2014 on a flight from DAY to ROA.http://flightaware.com/resources/registration/N5343M
Here is where it gets weird: there is a "Valant Associates LLC" that is a spookish contractor for the US intelligence community and the Department of Defense. http://www.volant-associates.com/experience/
Note that they started in 2006. Coincidence?
Volant Associates has been providing a wide range of technical and strategic services to the U.S. Defense and Intelligence communities since 2006. But Volant managers and associates have been providing those services to the same communities far longer. Indeed, the experience and expertise of outstanding leaders are what we bring to contractors and government organizations.
Volant’s assignments have included planning, specifying, contracting, acquiring, engineering and operating a range of IT and other defense- and intelligence-related systems for deployment at the Pentagon, elsewhere in the U.S., and abroad. Other assignments have involved broader strategic consultation services, drawing on our deep knowledge of the military and intelligence communities, their missions, their management, and their modes of operation.
We will be happy to meet with representatives of government organizations and/or private contractors to review in more detail our capabilities for assignments to protect the nation’s interests.
You gotta wonder where Paddock really got all his money. I know he sold real estate, but before he was a letter carrier and an IRS agent. Not exactly lucrative careers that would stake his initial purchases. Note that the timing of the SR20 purchase and retirement pretty much coincides with the so-called Fast & Furious gun running program. Makes you wonder if he was some sort of smuggler, or possibly even working for Volant Associates LLC.
I see from the wikipedia that the listed cruising speed of the SR20 is 178 mph, but on the last flight it was averaging over 200 mph for most of the flight. Do you think that is just a tail wind, or is it a possible indication that the SR20 was somehow souped up?
Picture of Paddock's SR20 here: https://i.imgur.com/SohMuS7.png
I wonder if that his him flying it....